President Barack Obama (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
, USA TODAY
The Republicans are not giving President Obama's fiscal cliff plan credit for proposed cuts -- cuts that rely on budget math that the Republicans themselves have used in the past.
The Obama plan projects savings of $1.22 trillion over ten years, including $290 billion in reduced interest payments as the nation's debt goes down.
House Republicans say that shouldn't count as a spending cut, and score the Obama plan with $930 billion in cuts -- not enough, they say, for a one-to-one match of the $1.2 trillion in higher taxes envisioned under the Obama plan.
But the Republicans have counted lower interest payments as budget cuts before.
That includes the budget reductions that accompanied the increase in the debt ceiling in 2011.
The budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., chairman of the House Budget Committee and the GOP's 2012 vice presidential nominee, also counts lower interest payments as spending cuts.
"The fact is that spending on interest payments is one of the big problems that we face when it comes to our budget deficits," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "And reducing those payments is a significant achievement when it comes to reducing spending."
It's not a "novelty," Carney said: "That has always been the practice, including by the Republicans who are now complaining about it."